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Sunday, December 17th:
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Dos Cocos (Weight/equipment check dive - No Camera)
Quite a few Barracuda, French and Queen Angels, Parrotfish, Rock Beauties, two Turtles, Trumpetfish, FourEye Butterflyfish, Fairy Basslets, Blue Cromis and Creole Wrasse, big group of Honeycombed Cowfish that appeared to be doing the mating dances, Spotted Moray Eel, Lots of other tropicals including gobies, Yellow Headed Jawfish, Yellow Tail Snappers and huge schools of Horse Eyed Jacks circling under the boat.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Dos Cocos (with the camera this time)
All of those mentioned above plus several Queen Triggerfish, some big Tarpon, a juvenile YellowTail Damselfish, Spanish Hogfish, lots of LongSpined Sea Urchins and Feather Duster Worms.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Silver Caves (swim throughs)
The silver in Silver Caves refers to the abundance of Tarpon at this site, also squirrelfish, Black Margates, Schoolmasters, YellowTail Snappers, Trumpetfish, parrotfish, Barracuda, Black Durgons, Tangs, pair of large Scrawled Filefish, a big Tiger Grouper sitting on the sand getting cleaned, several LongSpined Sea Urchins and Hermit Crabs, Damselfish and Butterflyfish as well as the ever present Horse Eyed Jacks.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Silver Caves (Night Dive)
Shallow night dive where the Tarpon were our constant companions, also saw a lot of Basket Stars, an Arrow Crab, Hermit Crabs, Lobsters, some small jellies, a big Southern Stingray and managed to get attacked by a small Caribbean Reef Squid.
Monday, December 18th: (Six Dives in one day!)
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Silver Caves (Dawn Dive/no camera)
The only Dawn dive of the trip, the Tarpon were still there, saw lots of sleeping fish, Indigo Hamlets and Parrotfish, some Trumpetfish, Squirrelfish, Lobster and a nice Adult Spotted Drum. Bill found the only Spotted Scorpionfish we saw on the trip.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Aquarium (two dives ~ Our 100th Dive)
Lots of various tropicals, Angels, Parrotfish, Trumpetfish, Hogfish, Rock Beauties, Butterflyfish, Black Durgons, Tangs, Damselfish, small Spotted Moray Eel, Barracuda, Honeycombed Cowfish, YellowTail Snappers, Blue Chromis and Blue Heads, big Black Groupers, Nassau and Tiger Groupers, little YellowHeaded Jawfish, Coral Banded Shrimp and a big tan colored Nurse Shark that swam off before we could get a picture.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Long Caye Ridge (two dives)
Lots of swim throughs at this site, found a big Green Moray Eel, Honeycombed Cowfish, Barracudas, Several Coral Banded Shrimp, Queen Angels, Porkfish, Tarpon, Blue Chromis and Blue Heads, Butterflyfish, Hogfish, some big Grouper, French Angels, Smooth Trunkfish, lots of YellowTail Snappers and HorseEyed Jacks.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Long Caye Ridge (Night Dive/No Camera)
Several large Black Groupers decided to follow us around on this dive, Bill spotted an Octopus, there were lots of Squirrelfish and Long Spined Sea Urchins, some Lobster, Arrow Crabs and a big (4-5 inch) pinkish, red Nudibrach with tan colored gill fringe that I think was a Leather-Backed Doris.
Tuesday, December 19th:
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Cathedral (Two Dives)
Octopus in his hole, lots of trash floating along the wall, Tiger and Nassau Grouper, Horse Eyed Jacks, YellowTailed Snappers, both Queen and French Angels, Clinging Crab, lots of Pederson Shrimp and their Anemones, FourEye and Banded Butterflyfish, Ocean Triggerfish, Stoplight Parrotfish, Tangs, a big Black Barracuda, Spotted Moray Eel, lots of miscellaneous juveniles, Fairy Basslets and Neon Gobis. At this site I had my second encounter with a baby Trunkfish, couldn't get a picture of the little guy though.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Que Brada (Two Dives)
The clouds and wind picked up at this site but the color of the sponges was still vibrant in spite of the clouds. Saw some large Barracuda, French, Gray and Queen Angels, Blue Chromis and Squirrelfish (of course), some large Tiger Groupers, Trumpetfish, couple of big Porkupine fish, lots of Queen Triggerfish, Large Honeycombed Cowfish, small Flounder (see if you can find him in the picture below), Parrotfish, Jacks, Snappers and Tarpon as well.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Que Brada (Night Dive/No Camera)
Went out to the wall and were followed by a lot of Tarpon, saw some Lobsters and a lot of sleeping fish, back in the shallower water saw a freeswimming Spotted Moray Eel, watched a Sharptail Eel and then saw another one acting strange. Upon closer investigation we were able to watch as he pounded his head into a hole in pursuit of a fish for dinner, he came up with the small fish half out of his mouth and proceeded to swallow him like a snake. The Eel was completely oblivious to Bill and I with our lights.
Wednesday, December 20th:
Lighthouse Reef~Half Moon Cay, Tarpon Caves (Two Dives)
Some Dolphins came to check out the boat at this site but they didn't stay around long enough for anyone to get in with them. There were a lot of nice swim throughs that the Tarpon were hanging in, some big Midnight Parrotfish, Nassau Grouper, Angels, Honeycombed Cowfish pair, Barracuda, Trumpetfish, big Porcupinefish, Bicolor Damselfish, YellowTail Snappers, Tangs, lots of various juveniles, Peppermint Shrimp, Hermit Crabs, Conchs, a field of Garden Eels, and some Southern Stingrays. At the ladder a Sharksucker tried to attach to my leg but I was able to shake him off.
Lighthouse Reef~Half Moon Cay, Dolphin Pass (Two Dives/One Without Camera)
This site had a resident juvenile French Angelfish that lives in the base of the mooring, luckily he was out cleaning a White Margate and I was able to get some pictures, also saw three big Blue Parrotfish that allowed us to get very close. There were a lot of Hogfish and several Southern Stingrays, a big Eagle Ray came over the reef for a visit. Saw Midnight and Stoplight Parrotfish, Grunts, YellowTail Snappers, Tarpon (big ones hanging under the boat), Dash Goatfish, Barracuda, Indigo Hamlets, Tiger Groupers, a small Spotted Trunkfish, Sharp Nosed Puffers, a juvenile Yellow Tail Damselfish along with a lot of other juveniles.
Lighthouse Reef~Half Moon Cay, Dolphin Pass (Night Dive/No Camera)
Lots of Lobster and various kinds of reef shrimp were out. The bioluminescent algae was everywhere, Bill kept covering his light and slinging his arms around in it. Saw lots of Sea Cucumbers, Hermit Crabs, a juvenile Hogfish in the Red Mottled stage and lots of small fish not yet asleep. The big Tarpon were following our lights, looking for a meal.
Thursday, December 21st:
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Long Caye Wall (Two Dives/One Without Camera)
Back to Long Cay area due to the shift of the winds. Got a few pictures before the camera locked up and refused to work for the rest of the trip. Saw our first Lizardfish of this trip, several large Queen Angels, Coral Banded Shrimp, FourEye Butterflyfish, a Scrawled Filefish as long as my leg. Spotted a large Octopus, sitting out in the open and a big Adult Spotted Drum right in front of it, Trumpetfish, Parrotfish, YellowTail Snappers, HorseEye Jacks, Spotted Moray Eel, Black Groupers, big Lobsters and a huge Channel Crab. Bill got a nice shot of a Peppermint Shrimp in a Tube Sponge with some Bristle Stars.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Hat Caye Wall (Two Dives/No Camera)
This site was very murky on the first dive but cleared up significantly for the second and night dive. Saw a lot of the usual suspects, Stoplight Parrotfish, Blue Tangs, an intermediate Spotted Drum, big Scrawled Filefish, Fairy Basslets, Spanish Hogfish, Black Durgons, Blue Chromis, Creole Wrasse, Hogfish, big French and Queen Angels, Schoolmasters and YellowTail Snappers. Saw an unusual sponge growth that turned out to be Yellow boring Sponge, though it looks like small stalagmites and is white. And a couple of small button shaped, bright pink spots that we determined to be speckled Cup Coral. Saw some big Lobster, and a porcupine fish with a head as big as mine.
Lighthouse Reef~Long Cay, Hat Caye Wall (Night Dive/No Camera)
Lots of worms on this night dive, saw some Clinging Crabs, Spiny Lobster, Coral Banded Shrimp, big Reef Shrimp and some Arrow Crabs.
Friday, December 22nd:
Turneffe, Coral Gardens (Two Dives/No Camera)
Our last two dives of the trip. Nice site with an assortment of what we had seen earlier, big Southern Stingrays in the sand, Spotted Trunkfish, big gray Trunkfish, lots of Tangs, Parrotfish, Fairy Basslets, Spotted Moray Eel, Yellow Headed Jawfish, another Lizardfish, YellowTail Snappers and Schoolmasters. A big Channel Crab and a smaller crab right next to another Spotted Moray Eel, several Gray Angels and a group of small Pederson Shrimp with their Anemone right at the mooring.
Pictures From Around the Nekton Pilot
Pictures from around Belize City